wrestling / Columns

The 411 Wrestling Year-End Awards (Part Three) – The Best Tag Teams of 2021

January 5, 2022 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
AEW Dynamite Young Bucks Lucha Bros Image Credit: AEW/Twitter

Welcome back to Part Three of the 411 Wrestling Year-End Awards of 2021! The Year-End Awards have been out for a couple of years but they’re back, and here’s how they work. For the next couple of weeks, we will present our top choices for a particular topic relating to wrestling in 2021. All the writers here on 411 will have the ability to give us their Top 5 on said topic and the end, based on where all of the votes rank on people’s list, we will create an overall Top 5 list. It looks a little like this…

1st – 5
2nd – 4
3rd – 3
4th – 2
5th – 1

Once everyone’s had their say, we will tally the scores and get our overall top 5. Tonight we’re looking at the Best Tag Teams of the year. Let’s get right to it…

Rob Stewart

5. The Usos
4. The Young Bucks
3. AJ Styles & Omos
2. RK-Bro

1. The Lucha Brothers – The Lucha Brothers – Having been a longtime fan of Pentagon Jr (or whatever he is going by this week), I was excited that he and Rey Fenix finally claimed an accolade in AEW. They had felt lost in the shuffle for a while as guys who were just on the fringe of being utilized as well as they could be. Seeing them finally win the big one–and ending the ten month reign of The Buxks tp do it–felt huge.

Jeffrey Harris

5. The Good Brothers
4. FinJuice
3. FTR
2. Young Bucks

1. The Lucha Bros. – The Lucha Bros. had consistently been a standout team for AEW going back to their match with The Young Bucks at Double or Nothing back in 2019. However, they really capped off their year with their AEW tag team title victory against the Bucks at AEW All Out in September. That match had me at the edge of my seat, and I was dying to see the Lucha Bros. pull out the victory. The Lucha Bros. are a joy to watch work, and 2021 was their time to shine.

Steve Cook

5. The Young Bucks
4. The Lucha Bros
3. OGK
2. FTR

1. The Briscoe Brothers – When people have been teaming together as long as Jay & Mark Briscoe have been, they’re bound to get into a rut. They get annoyed with each other. You either split up for good, or you fight it out. Jay & Mark decided to fight it out at their own barn. They beat the holy hell out of each other, then Papa yelled at them to ask if they were done. “ARE YA DONE YET?” Then he told them to clean things up.

Afterwards, they won the ROH & GCW Tag Team Championships. Then FTR decided to pick a fight for some reason, so they’ll probably win the AAA Tag Team Championship in 2022. Hopefully Penta & Fenix aren’t dumb enough to pick a fight, or the Briscoes will take the AEW Tag Team Championship as well. This is a dominant tag team.

Lee Sanders

5. La Rebellion
4. FTR
3. Lucha Bros
2. Usos

1. Young Bucks – I never thought I’d find myself saying Young Bucks are my no.1 but I had to really sit down and think about this. One of the things I look for when it comes to singles competitors and tag teams is how well they do a good job in trying to establish others they work with from time to time. Ultimately if something were to happen to that singles competitor or member of a tag team, who’s been established that can step up next? Usos are a great tag team but they constantly have been fed so much that if you were to pull them, there’s really no other up & coming established tag team that could pick things up and go. Sure you have Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston but again to my point, next person or folks up. Great matches the Usos have had in 2020 but Young Bucks edged them out in my mind for who all they’ve established in 2021. From The Acclaimed, Varsity Blonds, Jurassic Express, great feuds with Lucha Bros, Best Friends, CHAOS, Moxley and Kingston, Young Bucks have stepped up. One of my biggest complaints on Young Bucks over the past several years has been what kind of Bucks are we getting? Are we going to get the team who phones it in and does a bunch of superkicks and spot after spot after spot? Or the Bucks who tell a great story and give you a nice throwback to yesteryears’ tag teams in The Midnight Express or Rockers? 2021 found the Bucks maturing and telling better psychology in the ring and even with their characters as they do little things to piss off fans online. I’ve got to respect that hustle!

Jake Chambers

5. Symbiosis
4. Sub-Culture
3. Pretty Deadly
2. Moustache Mountain

1. Gallus – I know this isn’t going to do much for the total year-end voting numbers, but this is where I start pining for my beloved NXT UK – a theme that will spread across most of these lists. In particular, this brand has a robust tag team division, led most year (whether champions or not) by this Scottish faction of gentleman ruffians lifted right out of a Guy Ritchie movie. You might not be getting the kick-out spamming and Cirque de Soleil choreography of AEW in the NXT UK tag team scene, but what you get, especially with Gallus matches, is a lot more cause/effect logic that tries to artistically imitate real struggles between badass fighters.

Ian Hamilton

5. Young Bucks
4. Young Guns
3. FTR
2. Dangerous Tekkers

1. Lucha Brothers – This one was a coin toss for me, but the Lucha Brothers have had higher highs in 2021 whereas ZSJ and Taichi have shone better as singles almost.

Kevin Pantoja

5. Jurassic Express
4. The Young Bucks
3. MSK
2. FTR

1. The Lucha Brothers – It’s kind of easy for AEW to dominate this section because they’re the main company out there that cares about tag team wrestling. It’s a total joke in New Japan and WWE forgets what tag wrestling is at times. I’ve said it since AEW started that the best teams in the company were FTR, The Lucha Brothers, and Santana and Ortiz. The last team is still booked like afterthoughts but the other two duos got the chance to shine. The Lucha Brothers only lost one tag match all year, consistently put on great matches, and beat the Young Bucks in a phenomenal steel cage match at All Out. There’s something special about Penta and Fénix and I love watching them every week.

Thomas Hall

5. The New Day
4. The Lucha Bros
3. The Briscoes
2. The Usos

1. FTR – I grew up on 80s wrestling and that’s what you get here. Between the Midnight Express theme song and the old school high waisted trunks, these guys feel like a modern version of Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard. It’s so much fun to watch a team that feels happy with being a tag team instead of two wrestlers who happen to be together. That’s such a rare thing to see these days, at least at this level, and FTR does it so well.

One of the best things about the team is how well they stand out. AEW has a lot of people jumping and flipping and diving all over the place and going completely out of control. FTR feels like a team that has prepared and trained to take their opponents apart in a wrestling match rather than having an acrobatic display. The team feels different and the fact that they do it so well makes them the team of the year.

Andrew Cazer

5. The Lucha Brothers
4. FTR
3. The New Day
2. The Usos

1. The Young Bucks – The Bucks were AEW Tag Team champions for nearly the entire year and were involved in a number of high profile programs. They maintained the tradition of having some of the best matches on AEW PPVs and some of the most compelling characters as well. Even this deep in their run as a tag team they find new ways to reinvent themselves and become even more hated than before. They closed out the year putting over The Lucha Brothers in a match of the year candidate. It’s hard to argue against them based on consistency alone.

Jeremy Thomas

5. The Usos
4. The Young Bucks
3. FTR
2. RK-Bro

1. The Lucha Bros – It was a surprisingly tough call for me for #1, as I’ve oddly come to love RK-Bro and think they have pretty fantastic chemistry as a team. But yeah, this has to go to Lucha Bros. Penta and Fenix had a red-hot 2021, tearing it up both in AEW and in a few matches down in AAA. This was a team that always felt like they had the potential to be recognized as the best in the world, and they just needed the opportunity to show it. Their matches against FTR, Jurassic Express and others gave them that opportunity, not to mention the insane steel cage match against the Young Bucks at All Out where they captured the AEW World Tag Team Championships. There are so many times when titles are won either too soon or way later than they should have been; in this case, it was a crowning that seemed to come at exactly the right time. In a promotion that is really killing it in terms of tag team wrestling, it seems right that these guys are on top.

AND 411’s TOP 5 Tag Teams of 2021 ARE…

T-4. RK-Bro & The Briscoes (tie)8 points

T-4. The Usos14 points

3. The Young Bucks22 points

2. FTR27 points

1. The Lucha Bros33 points


* 1. The Biggest Disappointment of The Year: WWE’s Talent Releases – 28 points
* 2. The Best Non-Wrestler: Paul Heyman – 40 points